Monday, 26 March 2012

Six Senses - Today at 3.36pm.

So there I was...planning on writing a post that would probably start with something along the lines of 'Sorry, I've not blogged for ages' when I realised something...I am blogging. I'm blogging every bloomin day...just not here! It sounds stupid to say but I honestly had no idea that doing a drawing a day would take up so much of my time (Yeah, I don't know why that hadn't occurred to me either *slaps self on forehead*). I think part of the problem is that I am writing about what I'm thinking and what I'm doing as a background to each picture so to then come here and write about what I'm thinking and what I'm doing seems a bit...well...repetitive which would be fine if I was, I don't know, a circus performer (no, I don't know why that popped into my head but I'm going with it) who travels all over the world meeting interesting people but I'm not...I'm a community engagement manager who travels to Tower Hamlets! I do, however, have a plan (be afraid...be very afraid).

Last year, inspired by the lovely Fire Byrd, I did a post called 'Six Senses'. I really enjoyed writing it and, from the comments I got, you lot really enjoyed reading it. The idea is that you stop for five minutes and really pay attention to your surroundings...what you can see, touch, smell etc. So once a week I'm going to take five minutes to myself. I'm going to concentrate on that exact moment in time and I'm going to try and capture it. It solves the 'what the hell shall I blog about?' thing that has been bothering me, it will force me to stop and pay attention to my surroundings (which is always a good thing) and I think it will help me appreciate where I am right now rather than always thinking of the next thing I need to do (and hopefully it will make interesting reading). So I'm going to start right now

(Today at 3.36pm)

I can see:
my netbook which I have propped up on a cushion
the sun glinting off a hand carved wooden boat that was made for me in Thailand
a carved wooden elephant
a spider plant that is looking surprisingly green considering I keep forgetting to water it
a stack of books sitting on a dust covered table top
blue sky
cat nose smears on the window
dust motes swirling slowly in a shaft of sunlight
Lugs sprawled on his back letting the sun warm his stomach

I can hear:
the whirr of my computer
the rattle of a lorry as it makes its way up the hill
the fridge humming
Gai making his way down the stairs
someone laughing
a car door slam
Lugs yawning
the click of my netbook keys as I type
my breathing
the tick of a clock
Chris moving about in the bedroom

I can feel:
the weight and heat of the netbook on my lap
a slight breeze cooling my toes as it comes in through the window
the soft cashmire rug under my foot
the bottom half of my right leg starting to go numb because of the way I am sitting
the soft cotton of my top
a thread on the frayed bottom of my jeans lightly tickling my ankle
a stray hair touching my cheek

I can touch:
the smoothness of the netbook keys under my finger tips
the warmth of my netbook,
the slightly raised stitching of the cushion my netbook is sitting on
the smooth silk of the green cushion next to me
an ice cold can of Irn Bru next to me
a bead of condensation that is forming on the can

I can smell:
fresh air coming in through the window,
a hint of paint (someone somewhere must be decorating)
cut grass
the Issay Miyaki perfume that I put on this morning.

I can taste:
Irn Bru
a slight honey aftertaste left by my lipbalm

I'm hoping that these will get better the more I do them but I don't think that's too bad a start. Please remember that you can always visit me at Art Is Autobiographical if you want to see how the drawing is going...oh, and if you follow the blog you will automatically be entered into a competition to win an original drawing. I put all the names in a hat and select one at random ever month so you have a chance to win every month.

Monday, 19 March 2012

99 Reasons Why by Caroline Smailes

Caroline is a wonderful writer! She writes unusual books with storylines that stay with you long after you have put the book down (Check out In Search Of Adam, Black Boxes and Like Bees To Honey if you don't believe me!). Today is the launch of her latest book 99 Reasons Why. It is only available as an e-book and it offers something rather special...you get to choose the ending! There are 11 in total...9 will be accessed as part of the book, one is featured here and one will be handwritten and auctioned for charity.

So what's the book about? Well....

Kate isn’t like 22 year olds. She’s got a job to do for her Uncle Phil. Each day, she spies on The Kevin Keegan Day Nursery across the road from her bedroom window, writing down all of the comings and goings in her notebooks. That’s how she spots her little girl in the pink coat. She likes her, and it isn’t long before Kate asks her mum to steal the girl for her. Plans are made.

But then, quite unexpectedly, Kate flashes her breasts out her bedroom window at the little girl’s father. And that’s the reason why nothing will ever be the same again…

There is no one ending to Kate’s story, instead there are nine possible outcomes which you can navigate through your ereading device. Each is different, and each exposes a little more of Kate’s utterly wonky world.

One of the endings -

Reason 99 - Why I was only worth ninety-nine quid.

It’s been six days since the little girl in the pink coat went missing and me Uncle Phil’s in me bedroom.

We’ve been watching the little girl in the pink coat’s mam on the news. She was appealing to the public for witnesses.

‘Didn’t realise she had a mam,’ I says, looking at me telly.

‘Everyone’s got a mam, pet,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘She sold her story to The Sun,’ I says, looking at me telly.

‘Got a few quid,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

I nod.

‘She wanted nowt to do with that bairn before all this,’ me Uncle Phil says, looking at me telly.

‘Do you know where she is?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

‘Belle?’ me Uncle Phil asks me.

I nod.

‘She’s safe,’ me Uncle Phil says to me. ‘Your mam’s keeping an eye on her.’

‘Can I be her mam?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

‘No, pet, you’re a filthy whore,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

I nod.

‘Can you make Andy Douglas come back, Uncle Phil?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

Me Uncle Phil shakes his head.

‘I love him,’ I tell me Uncle Phil.

‘Andy Douglas is your brother, pet. You didn’t seriously think Princess Di was your mam, did you?’ me Uncle Phil asks me.

I nod.

‘You’re a cradle snatcher just like your mam,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

I nod.

‘Your mam miscarried when she found out I’d been banging Betty Douglas. Betty was expecting you,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

I don’t speak.

‘When you was born, your mam went mad and I ended up buying you from Betty Douglas for ninety-nine quid,’ me Uncle Phil says.

‘Ninety-nine quid?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

‘I paid a hundred but got a quid change for some chips for your mam and dad’s tea,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘You bought me?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

I’m a little bit sick in me mouth.

‘It was the right thing to do,’ me Uncle Phil says to me. ‘I got Betty Douglas pregnant straight away with Andy.’

‘I’m pregnant,’ I says to me Uncle Phil. ‘I’m pregnant with me brother’s baby,’ I says, and then I throws up on me purple carpet.

‘You’re a filthy whore,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘What am I going to do?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

‘You’re going to have the baby,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘Have me brother’s baby?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

‘Then I’m giving it to Betty Douglas to bring up,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘You what?’ I says to me Uncle Phil.

‘It’s the right thing to do,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘I can’t—’ I says to me Uncle Phil.

‘It’s either that or I’ll make you disappear,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

I don’t speak.

I’m thinking, they’re all a bunch of nutters.


You can buy it here